I Miss The Vibes of a 2000’s Harvey Norman

I Miss The Vibes of a 2000’s Harvey Norman

Online shopping is great and all, but there is something about a brick-and-mortar shopping experience in a consumer electronics store that hits different. And it hits even harder in the early to mid-2000s. 

Similar to me, my dad is a massive tech nerd, and one of my fondest memories is spending hours in a Harvey Norman or a Dick Smith (RIP). 

I vividly remember heading to Harvey Norman on a Saturday afternoon to peruse the latest and greatest tech. Mind you, this was in the early 2000s so the latest and greatest tech was a plasma flatscreen at whopping 32-inches. 

If you were rich in 2006, your house had this bad boy. Image: Reddit

But what makes this so nostalgic is that there was something in the air in these consumer electronics stores. Was it the pre-ecommerce vibe where we were forced into these lifeless warehouses to pick our TVs or was it the lack of digital ads, meaning brands had to advertise in-store with gaudy, over-the-top displays? 

It could be a bit of both.

We sadly were a Harvey Norman family because my dad had “connections” through one of his mates so we could grab a discount from a man named Graham, or was it David? 

Is that 32-inch TV $4K????? Image: Getty Images.

Walking through our local Harvey Norman we had to navigate the endless beige of the furniture section, dodging leather futons and theatre lounges with cup holders built into them before we could get to the promised land of the electronics section.

This was around the time flat screens, similar to the one pictured above, were released at extortionate prices, the PlayStation 3 had just been released and PC games were still sold in massive cardboard boxes. So safe to say the vibes were high. 

My mission during these blissful Saturdays was to check out the iPods and Sims 2 expansion packs, which my parents wouldn’t let me buy just because they were M-rated (oh the joys of conservative parents). 

Because in-store shopping was still very much a thing back then, the stores were packed and you were fighting for your life in a Harvey Norman car park. But once we got a parking spot, I knew I was about to have the best hour or so of my tween life. 

What also was packed was the gaming area where you could play Forza on Xbox 360 or smack a plastic guitar for Guitar Hero on PlayStation 3. I remember waiting for what seemed like eons to have a crack at these games but some snotty-nosed 10-year-old boy was always hogging it. Tell me why was it always a 10-year-old boy?

I miss in-store gaming launches too. Image: Reddit.

These stores also had in-store experiences like live cooking demos, I was so devastated when we missed it and the smell of stale focaccia or a herbed chicken lingered in the air. 

If I was bored of the electronics, I sometimes made my way to the kitchen section and fantasised about being 30, flirty and thriving, picking out the most lavish stovetops and small appliances that I would have in my cool adult apartment. Funnily enough, this did come true, but it’s me picking the cheapest item, rather than the most expensive item. 

Whenever anything launched like an iPod or a new gaming console, the consumer electronics store was buzzing on a Saturday and sometimes you had to line up before 9am to get a look at the best new MP3 music player.

But sadly, in the words of Nelly Furtado, “Why must all good things come to an end?”. As soon as ecommerce became popular and people could find a way to buy things from the comfort of their beige futons, the stores became shadows of themselves.

While they are still alive and kicking, walking into a Harvey Norman today seems like going back to your old high school where you feel like you’ve outgrown it and there is still that one teacher still there 20 years later.

If you like me are also feeling down in the dumps because you miss the smell of a Harvey Norman, then why don’t you watch Rostered On? This show focuses on Shaun who works at a fictional electronics store and deals with the day-to-day rigmarole of dealing with the public. Too bad it wasn’t set in the heyday of electronics. 

Watch Rostered On on Pedestrian Television for free, 24/7 on 9Now. 

Image: Harvey Norman/NBC Universal

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